Letter to the Editor

Readers write about healthcare of US Army soldiers, housing for the homeless, polarization in US politics, the Padilla case, and India's widows.

US Army's acknowledgment of mental disabilities

I greatly appreciate the Aug. 20 Opinion article, "Treating the trauma of war – fairly," which covers how the US Army has been relabeling cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a "personality disorder," allegedly to avoid paying for treatment. The article only scratches the surface on the ways in which the military, specifically the Army, can deny service members disability benefits to which they are entitled by law.

There are a few methods that the Army uses to deny service members benefits. One is to rule out ailments that do not contribute to unfitness for duty. In physical exams, the Army will give less weight to mental disabilities than physical problems.

For the same person with PTSD, the Department of Veterans Affairs will give a more severe mental-ailment rating. The government is only giving lip service to supporting the troops.

Gerald A. Lechliter
Lewes, Del.

Housing for the homeless

After reading the Aug. 20 article, "Moving the homeless out of shelters, into homes," I think moving the homeless out of shelters and into the community is a good idea on paper. I live on a block where several buildings were converted, using money from government grants, to house the homeless in apartments. The problem is the management is understaffed in these apartment buildings and the staff is for the most part not properly qualified. Without good oversight of the apartment buildings and its tenants, the neighborhood has taken a turn for the worse. Before putting homeless people into housing, initial reasons should be addressed – such as lack of employment skills or mental illness.

Rebbeca Carlton
Indianapolis

More polarization in US politics

In the Aug. 17 Opinion article, "Karl Rove's wrong turn," the article makes a point that political operatives are important because they bring out the masses during an election. People like Karl Rove and their actions make individuals in politics less cooperative and less likely to compromise on policy. Voters are then turned off and stay home from the polls because they do not trust politicians.

In today's political world, we have more polarization and less participation as a result – hopefully the pendulum will swing again and the mood will change in the next election.

Pete Severa
Washington

Insight into the Padilla case

In response to the Aug. 15 article, "Beyond Padilla terror case, huge legal issues," I believe that coverage of Mr. Padilla is an excellent illustration of journalism's most important function in a free society: exposing government excesses in times of stress and fear. I teach constitutional law and political science, and have benefited from the Monitor's coverage of the US Supreme Court. It's important to watch the Court from many angles, and this story has fallen off the radar of major networks.

Ralph Burr
Honolulu

Generalizations about India's widows

In regard to the Aug. 9 article, "India's expanding city of widows," which features a report that more Indian women are becoming social pariahs: I think there were a few issues that were overgeneralized. Hinduism, like most major religions, has its share of social problems.

I think the article should take care not to generalize the perceptions of widows through the lens of classical Hinduism.

Malolan Cadambi
Bangalore, India

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